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Kathleen Toberty at
The Twickenham Lido
on honeymoon Aug 1955




A Selection of Memories

Hello - I recently read about your site in the Twickenham Jubilee programme. I've lived in Twickenham nearly all my live since age 3 - I am now 69 years old.
I used to swim at Twickenham Pool or "baths" when I was a kid and younger teenager, with my sister & my father. My dad was a keen swimmer and diver - he used to dive in off all the boards, including the high dive board. I have a b/w photo of my sister & myself that Dad took when I was about 14 and she was about 12, in our woollen school swimsuits. We are seated by one of the "fountain" water features that were at each end of the pool. I can take another copy of this pic and send it [as have no scanner].
In 1962 - approx '63/4 I was a keen member of "Eelpisland" - Eel Pie Island [still have the card]. Used to go every week from age of 19- sometimes twice a week in summer - to see my heroes: the Rolling Stones, Rod "the Mod" Stewart, Long John Baldry et al. The Cyril Davies All -Stars rhythm & blues band, and the Alexis Korner Blues Band were great favorites. Also we liked the Art Woods band & Brian Auger's Steam Packet played there. [Also I often went to the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, & saw the Yardbirds & Moody Blues.] I used to go to Eel Pie with my sister's school mate Valerie [when my sister was away doing VSO] - later my sister came too. I also went with my college friend from LSE - Sarah. Through her I met a boy who came regularly from Epsom, called Dave G, & his mate Des, and went about on the back of Dave's scooter. I was a student, and really into the "mod scene" and blues - I had long straight dark hair, pale make up, and wore denim skirts with striped matelot tops. My husband Dave [met in 1964] was a friend of Mick Jagger's old school mate Bob Beckwith - all 3 were both doing a B.Sc. Econ. at LSE; I was in same year there & met Jagger a few times.
I now belong to the revived Eel Pie Club that meets at the Cabbage Patch, and go occasionally. I have some quality photos of me taken at that time [by another boyfriend Steve who was a keen photographer, not from Richmond, but he used to come over here to see me]. I did a lot of "courting" by walking along the river towpath [on both sides] from the age of 18 until I was married in 1965, to Dave - still my husband, but now sadly in a care home.

Please find attached three photos of my parents Kathleen & Gerard taken at Twickenham Riverside in August 1955. The lady by the pool is my mother on her honeymoon, the second photo is my father in the pool. The final photo is them walking between Richmond and Twickenham.

My father is from Felling and my mother from Goole. When my father was demobbed he went to St Mary's Teacher Training College. He had stories of the hotel on Eel Pie island and eating steak in a café in Twickenham while it was still rationed only to be told later it was horse. Some years later when planning their honeymoon my father suggested Richmond and hence the photos. He always spoke fondly of Twickenham and St Mary's

I was born in a street running off Cross Deep so I was about two hundred yards from the river. I went to the village school here and Hampton School in Hampton and then at the age of eighteen I started working overseas. This work took me to various countries around the world and I used to come back on leave to stay with my parents.

The river was actually central to my life. I used to canoe the river, sail the river, fish the river, swim the river, sit on beaches by the river and we would always come down from our house quite nearby to the river.

The pool was a vital part of Twickenham and having bought rolls and ham from the local shop we used to have a picnic and spend some time at the pool. Sometimes it was so crowded they had to let them in in groups.

In fact I think it should be designated a lido as it was very large indeed. There was a set of very challenging diving boards. It had paddling pools for children and various water fountains

A very convivial place where people could take their children.

I used to go to the pool site with the kids. It was lovely and we used to go quite often. I don’t know why they closed it myself.

I attended Thames Valley Grammar School in Sixth Cross Road (now Waldegrave Girls) from 1949-1953. We had swimming lessons at Twickenham open air pool and I recall participating in the school’s swimming sports day held there.

As a child I used to go to Twickenham swimming pool every Saturday during the summer months. I often stayed there all day and other times I went to the cinema in the afternoon.

People would send their children to the pool site in the summer and the ice rink in the winter; mothers always knew where their children were.

I remember learning to swim in Twickenham open air swimming pool. I used to go there from 1940 to 1948 and I remember school swimming lessons on Fridays before 10.00 am. My memory is of freezing cold water and a strong smell of chlorine. Later I enjoyed the lido area on hot afternoons.

I used to go to the open air swimming pool as a boy. It was a jolly good swimming pool.

The riverside pool is one of the places I used to swim. Swimming was important to me, not just because I love swimming, but because of the friends I made.

I attended St Mary's College as a Mature Serviceman in 1951/2.
There was a cafe near Church Street called El Greco ran by a Cypriot where students would buy egg and chips, rationing still being in place at the time. I remember a newspaper seller who would shout out 'Standard' and when he saw the college students would always throw them a mental arithmetic challenge that he could solve in his head but the students would need paper.
I saw the Strawberry Hill ladies bowling team playing in Radnor Gardens dressed in whites and thought this was unusual because at home teams merely changed into sand-shoes.
The Fox I remember when the main room was two bars and a scots man called 'Jock' painted a hunting mural on the wall, this was when Mrs Ross was the landlady. I also recall Gilbert Harding and his sister in The Fox.
I used to go to the Eel Pie Hotel, across a chain ferry, it had a later licence to 12:00am in order to serve the river traffic and where you could stay beyond 10:30pm if you had a meal which could be as small as a cheese sandwich.